Second lockdown sparks extension of market performance suspension
Ofwat is to extend the suspension of market performance charges for wholesalers and retailers in the business market in view of the second national Covid-19 lockdown.
In a joint letter from Ofwat and MOSL issued last week, the authorities said detail would follow but that trading parities should not be subject to financial penalties for failing to meet standards – for instance on meter reading – for reasons outside their control.
Elsewhere in the letter, Ofwat and MOSL said:
• retailers should continue to offer Covid Repayment Plans, tailored to customer circumstances, until at least 31 March 2021;
• temporary Covid vacant flags will not be used this lockdown; instead, retailers should work with customers and wholesalers to obtain meter reads or accurate estimates of consumption;
• there will be no new sector-specific liquidity support in the form of the deferral of payments due to wholesalers – Ofwat said retailers had had time to put other forms of support in place; and
• a call for inputs and request for information will be published this month as planned on bad debt exposure, with a view to consulting in early 2021.
Ofwat and MOSL said they would keep the situation with Covid-19 under review.